SARGON OF ASSYRIA
722-705 B. C.
Sargon the Younger, the man who formed the central object of one of the most brilliant periods of ancient Oriental history, might well boast himself a self-made man, for in spite of his boasts of the three hundred and fifty kings who ruled Assyria before him, and of his mention of the kings his fathers, it is certain that he was not of the blood royal. What his real ancestry was we do not know. He himself keeps a discreet silence on the subject. His son, Sennacherib, secured a splendid ancestry, for he claimed descent from the old mythical heroes, Gilgamish, Eabani, Humbaba, and the like. This was evidently felt to be going too far, for Esarhaddon already as crown prince gives the more modest genealogy which became standard. According to this, Sargon was a scion of the old half mythical house of Bel ibni, son of Adasi.
As we do not know his family, so we do not know his real name. On his accession he assumed that of Sharrukin, better known to us, from its Biblical form, as Sargon. The reason for this is clear. Two thousand years before there had ruled in Agade a mighty monarch, Shargani by name, whose power and wealth were still evidenced by the inscriptions in the temples he had erected. Originally the name seems to have meant "A god has established him as king". A later age had forgotten this meaning, and it had, by a process of folk etymology, come to mean "The established king". It was in this latter sense that the usurper assumed it, and by the plays upon it in his own records showed to the world his well-established rule.
Shargani thus became a sort of patron saint to his name-sake. He did not, it is true, claim descent from him. But we do see a sort of a Sargon renaissance, a renewed interest in everything touching the older monarch. For instance, there had come down a great astronomical treatise, the "Illumination of Bel", which was ascribed to Shargani. This was introduced into Assyria and frequently copied in this and succeeding reigns. To the same influence must no doubt be ascribed the well-known archaism in art and in religion, the care for Babylonia, perhaps even the foundation of a new Dur Sharrukin in imitation of the earlier one which had borne Shargani's name.
Perhaps the most artistic and interesting result was the production of the Sargon legends, which, in all probability, had long floated about in popular story and were now retouched for the glory of the usurper king. Of this literature, two specimens have come down to us. One is an omen tablet which reports the deeds done by Sargon or his son Naram Sin under such and such a sign of the heavens, how three years were spent in the land of the setting sun, how the sea of the setting sun was crossed and his image erected, how Kastubilla of Kagala was defeated and the land of Surri, and how a great city was built in his honor.
But if this is, after all, only a dry astrological text, the other is one of the gems of Assyrian literature. The story has often been told of how his father he did not know and his mother, a woman of low degree, bore him in secret, how, like the little Moses, the infant was placed in an ark of rushes and entrusted to the water, how the water carried him to the irrigator Akki who reared him and made him a gardener until the goddess Ishtar came to love him and gave him rule over the black-headed folk and granted him victories over Dilmun and Dur ilu.
Beautiful as all this is, it is so clearly legendary that we cannot wonder that the earlier scholars were inclined to make him an entirely mythical personage. Even though we now know that Shargani actually lived and was a great ruler, we have no more right to assume that these legends tell the truth than we have to describe the policy of Theodoric the Ostrogoth on the basis of the romantic adventures of Dietrich of Berne. Knowing how legends grow up, we should be inclined to suspect the account even if nearly contemporary. How much more so when it is separated from its subject by perhaps as long an interval as that which separates us from Sargon himself. The tablet of omens comes from the library of Ashurbanipal and bears his mark, while the legend tablet dates from the eighth century. But still closer is the internal evidence. Both Sargon the Younger and the hero of these legends are alike in having no royal ancestors. Both warred in Elam, and in Syria, and at Dur ilu, and conquered Tilmun. Both crossed the sea of the setting sun and both erected a stele in Cyprus. The legendary hero refers to "my successor" (arku), and sure enough arku, "the second", is so common a title of Sargon, that, in the form of Arkeanos, it has come down as his name in the Greek-Babylonian list of Ptolemy. All this points clearly to our time as the date of fabrication.
What was the character of the man who, on the death of Shalmaneser IV on the 22d. of Tebet (December 28), 722 BC, came to the throne? As compared with the characters in classical or in mediaeval Arabic history, it is difficult to understand the personalities of the Assyrian rulers. Yet the attempt may be made, for, in spite of the tendency to conform every such ruler to a majestic, impersonal type of the Assyrian rule itself, we can see a strong personality here. And certainly strength of character must have been one of the most important facts in the man who could usurp the throne, hold it so well, extend its boundaries, and develop it internally, and then hand it on to such men as his successors. With strength we often associate coarseness and ferocity. Judged by the standards of our own day, Sargon was horribly cruel. Judged by those of his own, he was as far from the barbarity of Ashurnasirpal as he was from the comparative weakness of Esarhaddon. And for his cruelty he had his excuse. The Assyrian empire was still in a precarious condition; indeed, it never again was really safe, and firmness was absolutely needful. If it was necessary for state reasons to flay a man alive, Sargon probably had no compunctions. That he was not merely a blood-thirsty tyrant there is plenty of evidence to show. After conquest he organized territory. If the administrative system dates to Tiglath Pileser III or even earlier, he at least carried out those designs, and so deserves the credit for a fair amount of political sagacity.
Since he gained the throne by the aid of the religious party, we naturally expect to see something of a religious type in his nature. This may have been only affectation, but it more probably was genuine. The simple soldier who owed his throne to priestly aid was certainly grateful. How great an influence the priestly party gained in his reign may be surmised by the reaction against it in the reign of his son Sennacherib. To how great an extent Sargon was really cultivated we may only conjecture. There were great building enterprises, there was sculpture of a high type, there was much literature produced. But all this was merely to glorify the king, and we may doubt if the soldier cared much for art for art's sake.
Thus, as we attempt to find individual characteristics, we have a sense of failure. Even his sculptured portrait is of little value, for it gives us only the conventional king.
The many conjectures previously made as to the way Sargon came to the throne are now rendered useless by the discovery of a bit of clay. From this we learn that Shalmaneser had committed the unheard-of sacrilege of laying tribute on the old sacred city of Ashur, the cradle of Assyrian power. Harran, too, the capital of that great Mesopotamian kingdom which was united with Assyria in a sort of personal union, was in the same evil case. The god, Ashur, became angry, overthrew Shalmaneser, and presented the crown to Sargon. Translated into plain English, Sargon took advantage of the insult thus offered to the pride and the pocket-book of the great cities, and, with the aid of the priesthood, secured the throne. They had their reward. During the whole reign the priestly party was high in power, and a wave of religious reaction swept over at least the palace circle, while Ashur and Harran were once more given their old privileges and governed directly by the crown.
Yet, in spite of his religious tendencies, Sargon was a great warrior, and indeed the greater part of his recorded history consists of a series of wars. No doubt there were pressing questions of home policy, perhaps even there were revolts, though we hear of none. But, as is always clear to a usurper, the best way of settling questions of legitimacy is by leading the nation to victory in foreign wars. Nor was it mere lust of conquest or needs of home policy which kept the armies of Sargon in the field year after year. During the half century of Assyrian weakness new powers had come into being, and now Assyria was surrounded by a ring of hostile states, any one of which was not an enemy to be despised, while a union such as afterwards brought about the fall of the empire was even now an imminent peril.
On the south border little was to be feared from the Babylonians, who had been rendered unwarlike by their long civilization. But here as elsewhere there had been a gradual inworking of Arab tribes of whom the Kaldu or Chaldaeans were the most important. Under Babylonian influence they had gained a certain veneer of civilization. Their leader was now a certain Merodach Baladan (Marduk aplu iddin), whose name shows his Babylonian leanings. Already, in 731, he had come into contact with Tiglath Pileser and had been forced to pay tribute. During the weaker reign of Shalmaneser he had extended his power from his home land in Bit Iakin, in the marshes of the Tigris and Euphrates, and had won the confidence of the Babylonians. When, therefore, Sargon usurped the Assyrian throne, Merodach Baladan was in a position to grasp his opportunity. Babylon surrendered, and soon after, on the New Year's Day (April 2), 721, he "seized the hands of Bel", was recognized as the de jure king of the South, and took the titles of "King of Babylon" and "King of Shumer and Akkad". The natives seem to have welcomed him as a deliverer from the Assyrian yoke, at any rate there certainly was a strong pro-Chaldaean party in the city.
Merodach Baladan was supported, not only by the various Aramaean tribes but also by Humbanigash of Elam. Alliance with Elam had long been a fundamental article in the policy of Babylonia. In earlier times that country had had a long and important career, often at the expense of Babylon. Of late it had been miuch weakened, the history becomes obscure, and even the succession of kings is lost. A new era began with the accession of Humbanigash in 742 BC. The earlier years of his reign seem to have been spent in reducing to order the feudal princes who so regularly weakened the country. There was peace with Assyria, for a long line of Aramaic buffer states protected Elam from her more powerful neighbor. But Tiglath Pileser conquered and incorporated these states, while he also obtained personal rule in Babylon. This brought Elam into great danger. The Chaldaean conquest of Babylon must greatly weaken Assyria and protect a considerable stretch of Elamitish border from Assyrian attack. We can therefore see why Humbanigash preferred to fight his battles for Elam on the plains of Babylonia.
The situation in regard to Elam was further complicated by the Median tribes which were gradually working their way in from the east, and, like the Aramaeans, were warring against Elam and Assyria alike. As yet, the danger was not serious. A force was constantly engaged on the borders and now and then we hear of the conquest of some petty tribe. Already Iranian and Aramaean were meeting at the Zab, as Hun and Saracen later met in Central Europe.
Reaching in a great arc from northeast to northwest were the provinces and dependencies of the empire which, in the half century of Assyrian decline, had become the most powerful in Western Asia. Coming down from the region of the Caucasus, the Haldians had gradually forced their way south until, in the reign of Ashurnasirpal, they had come into touch with the Assyrians. For a time they were held in check, but as Assyria began to decline, Haldia won and held the supremacy of the civilized world under the vigorous rule of Menuash and Argishtish I. When the Assyrian power once more revived under Tiglath Pileser III, Sardurish II, the successor of Argishtish, held all of Armenia, Western Mesopotamia, Western Asia Minor, and North Syria more or less completely under his control.^ To be sure, all this extent of territory was rather imposing than effective, for time enough had not been allowed for a real amalgamation, yet the pro-Haldian party was strong and a severe struggle was needed to drive Sardurish out of Syria. Tiglath Pileser followed this up with an invasion of Haldia itself but, although the capital, Tushpa, was taken and burned, Sardurish held out on the high isolated rock which forms the citadel of Van, and the Assyrians were forced to retreat as winter came on.
When a new ruler, Rusash, son of Sardurish, or Ursa, as Sargon calls him, ascended the throne, some time about 725, the imperial position of Haldia had been largely lost. The new monarch, as events quickly showed, was well adapted to restore the lost prestige of his people. His first care seems to have been the restoration of the ruined city. The older town, Menuahina, founded by Menuash, the greatest of the Haldian builders, had been completely destroyed. Rusash rebuilt it, not on the old site, but further north where we now have Toprak Kaleh, and called is Rusahina. Since the water of Lake Van is not potable, he constructed, far to the east among the barren and desert wastes, where his inscription has been found, an immense reservoir, now known as Keshish Goll, or Priests' Sea. At Van and at Aluchalu, on Lake Gokcha, temples were also erected to Teishbash, the storm and air god.
The accession of a new and more vigorous ruler naturally meant a more vigorous foreign policy. Scanty as our sources are, we are still not left in entire ignorance of con- ditions along the frontier. At Aluchalu, on Lake Gokcha, and therefore well within present Russian territory, we have an inscription. Its very position shows a considerable ad- vance to be probable. It also mentions twenty-four countries which had been conquered, although the vagueness of our present geography gives us little clue to their location, whose inhabitants were carried off to Haldia. On the east, a similar advance seems to be demanded by the sovereignty of Muçaçir. On the west, however, where the earlier kings had ruled as far as Melitene, the boundary had been drawn back, for at this time that place was ruled by an independent prince. From the circumstances presupposed by Sargon's frontier fortifications, we must assume that the Euphrates was here the boundary. On the south was the greatest danger. Here the line ran a perilously short distance south of the capital, which was thus exposed to raiding. But in this matter of raiding the Haldians had the advantage, for it was easy for a band of the mountaineers to rush down upon some undefended spot in Assyria, while the heavier armies of the latter would be under considerable difficulties, if a return expedition was undertaken. Regular military expeditions in this region were few and brief. The Haldians had only to retire to their fortresses and allow the enemy to ravage as he pleased, then, when the early winter forced him to retreat, they issued forth, blocked the passes, harrassed the rear, and often inflicted great damage.
The influence of Rusash must not be confined to the region he ruled. With Merodach Baladan, with whom he may have been allied, he was the cause of almost every war of the reign. Could these two be put out of the way, the remaining conquests would not be difficult.
Back of the Haldians and no doubt already exerting pressure on them, were other Iranian tribes. As yet, they seem to have been unknown to the Assyrians. By the end of the reign they would be known only too well. Had the Assyrians realized that in attacking and destroying the neighboring states they were but putting out of the way buffer states whose loss would expose themselves to attack, they might have hesitated. More probably it would not have changed conditions.
On the northwest frontier there was little danger, but much inducement. Only one object blocked the way. Carchemish, a fragment of the old "Hittite" power, held the way to Syria and to Asia Minor and dominated the trade route to the west. Mercantile as well as political reasons were therefore demanding the removal of this eyesore to the Assyrian merchants. Once Carchemish passed, there remained only petty Hittite states to conquer. The way was open to a reconquest of those Asia Minor possessions held in the earlier days of Assyrian greatness, to Pteria, the great Hittite city, perhaps to the Black Sea itself. Of the power which, under Midas of Phrygia, was rapidly conquering Asia Minor, the Assyrians seem as yet to have known nothing.
Syria had been virtually brought under the control of Assyria by Tiglath Pileser and a large addition to the immediate territory of Assyria had been made when Shalmaneser captured Samaria and brought the Israelitish kingdom to its end. But the revolution at home had for the moment weakened Assyrian influence in this region. Affairs in Israel were still in a very unsettled condition. In Hamath and in Gaza rulers of ability seemed about to unite Syria against the Assyrians. In Judaea the young Hezekiah had but recently come to the throne. His religious reformation looked very much like a protest against the pro-Assyrian religious policy of his father Ahaz, and an embassy from Merodach Baladan had just come to him urging revolt. Egypt was recovering herself under Ethiopic hegemony and had already interfered in the Samaria aflfair. In Arabia things were in a ferment as a result of the impending change from Minaean to Sabaean overlordship, while all along its borders new swarms were pouring out and pressing upon the civilized nations.
Such were the circumstances of the Assyrian neighbors, and such were the problems presented to Sargon. On all sides Assyria was hard pressed by nations less civilized than herself. It was impossible for Assyria to hold her present frontiers, for only in a few cases were these "scientific." Only by constant advances could enemies be put out of the way, while each new advance meant a longer frontier to guard, a larger mass of unassimilated peoples within it, and a further depletion of the governing class. The task was too great for so small a people and ultimate failure was certain. Yet it was a great thing for civilization that the barbarian peoples were held back until they had more or less come under the influence of the Assyro-Babylonian culture, and that the empire endured so long as it did was due in no small measure to the hard fighting qualities of Sargon.
BABYLONIA AND SYRIA
Sargon ascended the throne at the very end of 722. What he did during the first year we do not know. In all probability he was engaged in settling himself firmly on the throne and in arranging the changes he found necessary from his point of view.
It was impossible for an Assyrian monarch to live in peace. Even if he wished to do so, circumstances were against him. So far as we know, the first collision with a foreign power took place in Babylonia some time in 720. Merodach Baladan, as soon as he was safe in Babylon, had sent to Humbanigash for aid, and now the Elamite was attempting to descend the Aft-ab valley to join his ally. But Sargon still held Dur ilu, a strong fortress which commanded that pass. When the Elamites reached the plain they found an Assyrian army drawn up to meet them. A battle took place and the Assyrians were driven from the field, although they still held Dur ilu. The Assyrians retreated to the north, though not so rapidly but that they could take vengeance on the petty Aramaean tribes of the Mattisai and Tumuna, whose pro-Assyrian sheikh had been bound and sent to Babylon. But now Merodach Baladan came up with his army and united with Humbanigash, after which they ravaged the nearby parts of Assyria.
A tactical victory had thus been won by the allies. The Aft-ab valley was opened and free communications with Elam secured. For twelve years no Assyrian army invaded Babylonia, and Merodach Baladan was left to his own devices. But one great mistake was made. Dur ilu was left, perhaps because, after all, the armies were too small, in the hands of the Assyrians. So long as they held it, communications between the allies were always subject to interruption, while it formed a good base for intrigues with the anti-Chaldaean party in Babylon or for actual military operations. So long as an advanced post such as this was at the very doors of Babylon, the southern question could not be considered settled.
In this same year, 720, Sargon was able to devote attention to the threatening state of affairs in Syria, which seems to have been completely neglected since the capture of Samaria by Shalmaneser in 723. Now all Syria was again in revolt, the two centers being at Hamath under Iaubidi and at Gaza under Hanunu.
In earlier times Hamath had been of great importance as the most southerly of the great Hittite cities. In the reign of Tiglath Pileser, it was definitely brought under Assyrian control, though not yet made a province. The constant presence of Assyrian troops in Syria during the last days of Shalmaneser must have kept it quiet, and so it was probably in the usurpation of Sargon that Iaubidi saw the opportunity for a like usurpation of his own. According to the testimony of his name, he was of the newer Aramaean stock which was now supplanting the older Hittite; though that this gives a proof that the Hebrew Yahweh was worshiped in Hamath is not certain. While Iaubidi was the nominal leader of the revolt, we must see the real instigator no doubt in Rusash, the Haldian, whose influence in North Syria must still have been strong. Of the other cities engaged, Arpad had but recently been the great center of Haldian influence in Syria and had been taken only after a three years' siege. Damascus had lost its independence only fifteen years before, while Samaria had met the same fate but three years before. Cimirra represented the Phoenician coast, and Tyre too seems to have taken part in this revolt. There are also indications that Bar Rekab of Samal, a state near to Arpad, forgot his allegiance to Assyria, perhaps his boasted love to Tiglath Pileser did not extend to the supplanter of his dynasty, and joined the coalition.
The allies do not seem to have acted in concert, it would have been too much to expect of a Syrian confederation, or perhaps Sargon was too quick for them. Iaubidi took up his position at Qarqar, to the north of Hamath, to meet the advancing Assyrians. Once before, 854, the Syrians had met Assyrians on this field and had defeated them and saved Syria for the time. Now they were in turn defeated, and Iaubidi fell into the hands of the victors. This was the first success of the reign, and it needed to be emphasized. A horrible punishment, only too common, was decreed for the unfortunate Iaubidi. He was carried to Assyria and flayed alive. Later, a vivid bas-relief was set up on the walls of the new capital, a warning against revolt to the petty princes who brought their tribute to Dur Sharrukin.
After the battle, Qarqar was taken and burned and Hamath, which seems to have lain not far off, was also captured, its low-lying position giving little opportunity for defense. Of its inhabitants many were killed, others were made captive, while the flower of the troops, two hundred charioteers and six hundred horsemen, was added to the standing army which Sargon was now forming to take the place of the old feudal levy. The position of Hamath on the great road from the north to Egypt was important, as its relation to the modern railway shows. To secure it, a colony of six thousand three hundred native Assyrians was settled here, and an Assyrian governor was placed over them. The site of this city is now represented, no doubt, by the big bare mound which stands in the center of the modern town, and here, if we should excavate, we should probably find not only the relics of an earlier Hittite people, but even cuneiform documents of the sort already found in the mounds of Palestine.
The capture of Hamath seems to have ended the revolt in the north, and the other cities submitted. Then he moved south to attack Hanunu of Gaza, around whom the revolt in the south centered. Gaza held one of the most important positions in the ancient world. As the last Syrian city towards Egypt on the great Syro-Egyptian trade route, and as the seaport of the Arabian caravan road, its possession was no less valuable from the commercial than from the military standpoint. This was thoroughly understood in Egypt where the holding of advance lines on Syrian soil has always been a fundamental part of the national policy. As soon as the Ethiopian rulers began to secure Lower Egypt, it was felt that an advance on Syria was to be part of the general program. Already, in the time of Tiglath Pileser, the first attempt had been made and Hanunu had been won over. The attempt failed, and Hanunu was forced to flee to Egypt. During the weaker reign of Shalmaneser he returned, deposed the Assyrian protege Idibi'il, and regained his throne. In this he was helped by a certain Sibu who was enabled by his success in Gaza to produce the rebellion of Hoshea of Israel.
Shalmaneser secured the fall of Samaria, but was put out of the way before he could attack Gaza, and Sargon now took up his work. What happened when he reached Gaza is not clear, but he seems to have fought a battle before its gates. The city was captured and the allies fell back toward Egypt, perhaps toward Rhinocolura, on the "Brook" of Egypt, where a frontier post seems always to have been held. Sibu summoned his tartan, or lieutenant, to come to his aid, and the two armies met at Rapihu (Raphia), where now the boundary between Egypt and Syria is marked and where later Lagidae and Seleucidae (Ptolemy IV versus Antiochus III) contested the control of Southern Syria. Sibu fled "as a shepherd deprived of his flock", so Sargon boasts, and Syria knew his intrigues no more. Hanunu was less fortunate, but was captured and taken to the city of Ashur with nearly ten thousand of his men. Rapihu, probably at that time only a fortified camp, was destroyed, but Gaza, perhaps as a reward for treachery, was spared. Under the direct control of the crown, it lasted on and flourished through Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian times until Alexander, by his destruction of Tyre, showed his hostility to Syrian commerce. Then first Gaza resisted the powers that be and met its fate.
It is interesting to note that Sargon did not attempt to follow up his advantages and attack Egypt or even Rhinocolura. Perhaps his forces had already suffered severely, or perhaps he felt that the conquest of Egypt was impossible, until he had secured a firmer hold in Syria. For the next few years much attention was devoted to settlement of Syrian affairs. Those cities which were not directly implicated in the revolts were allowed to retain their autonomy under the local kings. Those which were, Samal Cimirra, Damascus, the mainland Tyre, and Samaria, soon appear with Assyrian governors, and it is probable that this took place at the present time. Hamath, as already noted, was made an Assyrian colony.
In the case of one city, Samaria, the native records tell us a little more of this process of settlement. The city itself had already been taken by Shalmaneser, but all further arrangements seem to have been left to Sargon. Twenty-seven thousand of the leading citizens of the kingdom were deported and settled in Mesopotamia and Media, there to form a nucleus for that community of Jews, who for a long time made the east the real center of Jewish thought. But Samaria was not abandoned. The city was rebuilt and the survivors made Assyrian citizens with the usual tribute to be paid to the Assyrian governor.
The system of deportation was in common use at this time, the purpose being to break up the local attachments and to make the new settlers, naturally on bad terms with the original inhabitants of the land, feel that they owed everything to the protection of the imperial power. Five cases are known at least. In 720 the Aramaean tribes from near Dur ilu, the Tumunu and the Mattisai, were settled in Syria, probably at Hamath. In 717 the revolted Papa and Lallukua, two tribes of Hittite origin, were settled in Damascus. In 715 Sargon claims to have settled tribes in Samaria from Arabia. More probably this was merely an acknowledgment of the accomplished fact. As the Syrian localities gradually became deserted owing to the constant civil wars and the attacks of Assyria, the resistance to the constant pressure from the desert weakened and the Arabs pushed in even as they have to this day, when we still have Bedawin considerable distances west of the Jordan. If they only paid tribute, the Assyrians could have no objections to their settlement, and so to this cause perhaps as much as any other we owe the Aramaization of this region. Daiukku (Deioces) of Media and Itti of Allabria were settled at Hamath.
These four desert tribes of the "distant Arabs" were the Tamudi, the Ibadidi, the Marsimani, and the Haiapa. Their former location, if we can judge from the identification of the Haiapa with the Midianite clan Ephah, was on the Gulf of Aqabah and along the eastern shore of the Red Sea. It is also in this region, at the ruins of Medain Calih, that we have localized the story of the Thamud, clearly the Tamudi of our inscriptions. This Thamud, according to the prophet Mohammed, was a great prehistoric tribe, the successor of Ad. In the pride of their hearts they "made from the plains castles and dug out the mountains into houses". At last there came unto them the prophet Calih who preached to them the doctrine of the Unity. Nevertheless, they would not accept the manifest sign of the she camel, sprung from the rock in witness against them, but hardened their hearts and hamstrung her. Then came the great earthquake, and in the morning they all lay on their faces, dead in their houses. Such was the tale told by the prophet to point the moral to those who would not accept his own teaching. In reality, Thamud was a petty tribe in Assyrian times, and as a petty tribe it was still known to the Roman geographers.
To the same year we have assigned the "tribute", the senders no doubt considered it only a present from ruler to ruler, of Piru of Muçri (Pharaoh of Egypt), Samsi queen of the land of Aribbi, and of Itamra of Saba. Does this "tribute" of Pharaoh mean a settlement by treaty of the Syrian question by the two powers interested? The fact that there has been found at Kalhu, where Sargon at this time resided, a bit of clay, evidently affixed to a parchment or papyrus document, bearing the seals of Shabaka and of an unknown Assyrian ruler, seems to point in this direction.
Samsi, queen of Aribbi, is interesting to us as representing the older matriarchal form of authority current in Arabia, the classic example of which is found in the Queen of Sheba who visited Solomon. Samsi, who probably lived in the desert region immediately south of the Euphrates rather than in Arabia proper, had already sent "tribute" to Tiglath Pileser.
The mention of Itamra the Sabaean is of great importance for our knowledge of Arabian history. Itamra must be one of the mukarrib (princes) or kings who appear as Yatha- amar in the Sabaean inscriptions, and thus a clue is secured for the chronology of pre-Muslim Arabia. It also gives us a new conception of conditions in that region. If this was not a tribute, but rather a present from equal to equal, why was it sent? No doubt, it was felt that the two civilized powers ought to unite against the more barbarous tribes between. Again, as the two countries had no mutual boundaries to cause friction, so they had no commercial rivalries, but rather they had goods each wished to exchange with the other. Thus far, this trade had been in the hands of Syrians, but the merchants of Assyria would be glad to import their goods themselves and by a less round-about route. The most important reason, no doubt, was the wish of the Sabaeans to displace the older power of Ma'in. To do this a stroke directed at their commerce would accomplish most. Assyria now held Gaza, the Mediterranean port of the Minaeans. Assyria seems to have taken the side of Saba and thus accelerated the decay of Ma'in.
For about six years after the settlement of 720 Syria remained fairly quiet. But, whatever the truth about a treaty with Egypt, that country continued to intrigue with the Philistine coast. About 714 Azuri, king of Ashdod, withheld tribute and instigated a revolt of his neighbors. This was quickly quelled and his brother, Ahimiti, the crown prince, elevated to the throne. His reign was short, for the anti-Assyrian party was still in control, and as soon as the Assyrian army retired to go into winter quarters he was overthrown and a mercenary Greek soldier from Cyprus, called lIamani or "the Ionian", was chosen in his place. The revolt spread rapidly, Gath, Judah, Moab, and Edom taking part.
How important this outbreak was is shown by the haste with which Sargon acted. Although it was still early in the year 713, too early for the feudal levy to be called out, he did not hesitate, but sent his tartan, Ashur igka danin, with only the few hundred in his own body guard. The Tigris and Euphrates were crossed at full flood, and he suddenly appeared in Syria. Iamani had made his preparations, had surrounded the low-lying city with a trench, secured a water supply from outside the city, and called to his aid troops from other parts of the country. In spite of all this, he lost his heart when the Assyrians appeared so suddenly and fled to Egypt whence he was extradited and handed over to Sargon.
The cities of the Philistine plain were thus left defenseless and at least Ashdod with its port and Gath were taken. Their inhabitants, men and gods alike, were carried off into captivity. But these towns were too important to remain desolate long. They were therefore rebuilt and settled with loyal colonists. Over them was probably placed that Mitinti we meet as king early in the reign of Sennacherib. The other revolted states probably remained unconquered. If Sargon now held the cities of the Philistine plain and controlled the great trade routes, he could afford to permit a precarious liberty to the mountaineers of Judah, Moab, and Ammon.
This sudden punishment seems to have strongly impressed the imagination of the Syrians and to have had a good effect in keeping Syria quiet. There are no further accounts of revolts. For the twelve years which extend to the invasion of Sennacherib in 701, there is absolutely not a single fact known in regard to the history of Syria.
THE NORTHWEST FRONTIER
The second of the frontiers was that on the northwest which we have already touched upon in mentioning Samal. Here the greatest advance in the reign took place, although the region had already been conquered by Shalmaneser I and Tiglath Pileser I. The half-century-long weakness of Assyria had given Haldia control of this region. Tiglath Pileser III broke the power of Sardurish and forced the states to pay tribute. For some reason he did not attempt to inflict his provincial system on them. Consequently, on his death, Haldia once more gained the ascendency. Conditions were, however, changed, and Haldia found a new power which was, if a rival, also an ally against Assyria. This new power was that of Mita of Muski, or, to give him the name he more commonly is known by, Midas the Phrygian.
Some centuries earlier a number of Thracian tribes had invaded Asia Minor. The most important of these were the Phrygians, who seem to have already worked their way well to the east by the time of Tiglath Pileser. An opportunity for decided advance was here presented. Sardurish was weakened by defeats and Shalmaneser was weak in character. By the time when Sargon came to the throne, all Asia Minor was Phrygian, or under Phrygian influence. His actual frontier left the Mediterranean at Cilicia Trachaea and ran past Lake Tatta to the Halys river, the earlier Haldian boundary. Pteria itself, the old Hittite capital in this region, was probably in his hands, and perhaps from this fact he gained the title of the Muskian. He thus had, it would seem, as large an immediate kingdom as the later Lydians, while his influence beyond his borders to the east was greater. It is rather startling to find Carchemish on the Euphrates revolting at Phrygian instigation.
The first operations in this region took place in 718. In this year, Kiakki of Shinuhtu, a petty chieftain of Tabal, a somewhat ill-defined term applied to southern Cappadocia, refused to send tribute any longer, instigated, it may be presumed, by Midas. An army was sent against him, probably that commanded by the governor of eastern Cilicia or Que. Tarsus appears to have been the base. From this the army followed the time-honored war route which led through the Cilician Gates. In the rough Taurus country to the north the war dragged on until finally Kiakki and his fighting men were captured and deported.
Shinuhtu was not made a separate province, perhaps because it was too small and too poor to be worth the trouble. A certain Matti of Tuna (Tyana) offered to pay a higher tribute of horses and mules, of gold and silver, and so the country was handed over to him in the hope, vain as it proved, that a buffer state could here be made against Phrygia. In this way, too, an excuse could be found for an attempted control of Tyana itself. That city, even then probably an important religious and political center, commanded the great cross road which ran from Tarsus through the Cilician Gates past Pteria and on to Sinope on the Black Sea. When Matti no longer was faithful. Tuna came under the direct control of the Assyrians.
The next year, 717, we find an expedition against Carchemish undertaken. Why it had been so long spared by the Assyrians we can only surmise. Probably it was, like the Phoenician cities, predominantly mercantile, perfectly willing to pay tribute so long as it could trade, and careless as to the political changes going on about it. During the period of Assyrian decline, it seems to have been left in peace to its own devices and naturally resented the loss of freedom and especially the tribute inflicted by Tiglath Pileser, since it probably was forced to make up arrears. Pisiris, who had held the throne since at least 740, was at last induced by Midas to throw off completely the Assyrian yoke.
The loss of Carchemish was serious. It commanded the great high road to Asia Minor and to Egypt, and its possession by a foreign power blocked the way to the west for both caravans and armies. Furthermore, as an advanced post for Midas it was dangerously near the old capital of Mesopotamia, Harran. Add to this the fact that Carchemish was the great commercial rival of Kalhu, and it may be seen that the commercial classes of Assyria would be bitterly opposed to passing over this revolt.
In spite of the evident importance of the site, neither Rusash nor Midas gave adequate support. A good fight was made, but the city was at length captured, Pisiris dethroned, and the country made a regularly organized Assyrian province. From this time on, so long as the empire itself lasted, Assyria held the great western road.
As might be expected, the sack of so great a city, perhaps the most important trading city of its time in the world, produced enormous booty. According to the official accounts, perhaps not to be entirely trusted, the value of the precious metals alone amounted to the huge sum of eleven talents of gold and twenty-one hundred of silver. Among other valuables carried off and laid up in Kalhu against the day when they should adorn Dur Sharrukin were bronze, ivory, and elephant hides. Carchemish, like other mercantile cities, had her army, perhaps all mercenaries. These were taken over in a body and added to the new standing army.
While the danger to Assyria from a free Carchemish was thus great and its capture correspondingly important, the effect of its loss on the Hittite peoples has been much exaggerated. No doubt, it was their greatest commercial city and the transfer of commercial supremacy from an allied to a purely alien race made a difference. But we must remember that the "Hittite Empire", whatever it really was, had long been a thing of the past and that there was no organic union between the petty Hittite states which had taken its place. The allies had been, not these little states, but the greater rulers. Some were brought under Assyrian control, others never were, but all retained enough individuality to influence considerably the later peoples.
If Carchemish was actually destroyed after the siege, it did not long remain in ruins, for it had too important a situation. Sargon himself rebuilt portions, as we now know, while under his successors it became, as the relative rank of its governors shows, one of the greatest cities in the empire. Even though many of its inhabitants had been deported, it still retained a large Hittite element, and this mixing with Mesopotamian and Aramaean elements, produced a new race of which we should gladly know more. In many ways this new race must have improved upon the old. In art, for example, if we can judge from the exquisite stele of the mother goddess. We have here the same phenomenon which we see later in Asiatic or Egyptian art of the Greco-Roman period, the old religious conceptions preserved and reproduced, but with a temperance and a skill of technique which show superior artistic ability. As a center of commerce its influence was greatest. It is a significant proof of this, that, throughout the entire period of the later Assyrian empire, the most important commercial documents were reckoned according to the "mina of Carchemish."
The fall of Carchemish put out of the way a dangerous enemy in the rear of the governor of Cilicia. It was, therefore, possible for another advance to be made here. The Tyana road was, for the time at least, passed over. Instead, an attempt was to be made (716), directly on Iconium where Midas himself seems to have had his capital. Midas called Rusash to his aid. A battle was fought near the sea-coast, near the mouth of the Calycadnus, and Sargon claims the victory. As a result, several towns long held by Midas were conquered and added to the province. But the main object, the gaining of the road to Iconium, was not secured. The inhabitants of Cilicia Trachaea have always been wild and difficult to conquer, and so the war dragged on until at least 709.
In 714 Sargon definitely took up the question of advance in this region. Once more, as in 718, the road through the Cilician Gates was taken. Matti of Tyana had recognized the real meaning of the Assyrian policy and had gone over to Midas. He was now attacked and deposed.
Sargon moved on to the north and attacked the Tabal clan of Bit Buritash. Here a certain Hulli had ruled in the days of Tiglath Pileser. On his death Sargon recognized his son, Ambaris, as his successor and, to bind him more closely to his cause, gave him his daughter, Ahata-bisha. He also granted to him Hilakku (Cilicia), which at this time was north of the Taurus, about where the later strategeia of Cilicia was situated, although it is quite possible that he simply gave him the privilege of conquering it, if he could.
The royal lady seems to have been unable to keep her husband true. He, too, went over to Midas and Rusash. But, as usual, they proved broken reeds to lean upon, for Ambaris was captured and carried off with all his father's house. One hundred chariots were impressed into the royal army, the leading citizens were deported, and prisoners from other quarters settled in their place. Then, after Tabal had been thoroughly ravaged, a governor was placed over it, and the country was made an Assyrian province.
This campaign had opened up the Tarsus-Tyana-Mazaka road to the Halys River, which would thus form the northern boundary of the province to be established. Along the west, Lake Tatta would serve as a boundary, but to the south of that the ground would be debatable. To the east, the Euphrates would naturally be taken, for Haldia had now withdrawn behind that river. Thus the new province could be given, on nearly every side, a boundary which might be truly called "scientific". It was to the securing of this frontier that the operations of the next year were directed.
The greater part of this coveted territory was known as Kammanu. Its name was derived, no doubt, from the old sacred city of Comana, which was situated in the bare desert cleft in the western part of this region. At present, the capital was Meliddu, which has always been, both as the classical Melitene and the Malatia of modern times, the center of a great road-complex and therefore a position of importance. Some time before this, a certain Gunzinanu had been deposed, and Tarhunazi had taken his place. Sargon had recognized, if not encouraged, the change, and had added some lands. When Ambaris revolted, Tarhunazi seems to have followed his example, at least so far as to withhold his tribute. The advance on Meliddu seems to have been made from Amida as a base. Kammanu was devastated and the capital taken. Tarhunazi fled westward to his strong fortress of Tulgarimmu, the Biblical Togor-mah, where he was besieged and forced to surrender. He was cast into chains, and, with wife, children, and five thousand troops, carried off to Ashur, where the party was settled.
The required lines had now been secured, at least after a fashion, and the subjugation of the less important interior might be left to time. The frontier itself needed fortification. First Tulgarimmu was rebuilt with Meliddu. Then three forts were erected on the west against Midas, two on the north as protection against the barbarians, and five along the Euphrates on the Haldian frontier. The space thus enclosed, a wedge thrust forward between Haldia and Phrygia, was made a province under the usual forms of administration and settled by captives from various parts of the empire, the last instalment of Sute not arriving until after the capture of Babylon (710).
The next year an opportunity came for securing the most important site in the interior still unconquered. At Marqasi, the modern Marash, the Hittite ruler, Tarhulara, had been murdered by his anti-Assyrian son, Mutallu. Sargon, however, took him prisoner, armies could easily be concentrated on him from several sides, and carried him off with all the tribe of Bit Pa'alla and much booty. Gurgume,* from which Tarhulara had come, was rebuilt, and an Assyrian governor installed in Marqasi.
In the next years, probably 711-709, the final pacification of Que proper was accomplished by its governor. In three expeditions the infantry penetrated the Taurus, took two fortresses situated on hilltops and made twenty-four hundred prisoners. Of these, nearly a thousand were carried the whole length of the empire from Que to the king, as he lay encamped at Irma'mi in Elam. To take their place other Assyrian subjects were settled. But it now began to be seen that a crossing of Cilicia Trachaea was impracticable, and the advance was stopped.
At about the same time or perhaps a little later, trouble broke out on the extreme north, where Mutallu of Qummuh, a land situated somewhat to the north of the later Commagene, had abandoned friendly relations with Sargon and gone over to Argishtish, who had recently succeeded Rusash in Haldia. The governor of the new province invaded his country, took some of his fortresses and much booty, and even some of his family. But Mutallu himself simply retired to the wild mountains nearby. The lowland regions were settled by captives from Bit Iakin, to which place the Qummuh men were in their turn deported. This seems to be the high-water mark of Assyrian influence in this region. Before the end of the reign the Iranians began to come in and the frontier receded.
In connection with affairs on this frontier, we may note the Assyrian relations with Cyprus. Here the Greeks had gradually been settling until by now they seem to have gained control of the greater part of the island. They naturally, as enemies of the Phoenicians in the island, were inclined to be friendly with the Assyrians who had already secured control of the Phoenicians on the mainland. No doubt, too, Midas had tried to conquer the Greeks along the coast, as the Lydians tried later, and enmity to him would again make them favorable to Sargon. On the other hand, the Assyrians had no fleet, and so there was little danger of conquest from them. Furthermore, friendship with the great empire would mean commercial privileges throughout the whole of its provinces, and the Greeks would not forget this. We can therefore well understand why, when Sargon was still in Babylon, probably after his return from the extreme south (709), he received an embassy and presents, gold and silver, (it is curious that we have no mention of the copper which received its name from the island), ushu and ukarinu woods, from the land of Ia, a region of Iatnana, as the Assyrians named Cyprus. In return, Sargon sent to Cyprus the splendid "image of his majesty", which is now in Berlin. The Greeks of Cyprus continued to keep in friendly relation with succeeding kings, and once in a while sent presents. To the end, however, they retained their independence and Assyria never really ruled the island.
THE ARMENIAN WARS
As we have already seen, one of the antagonists most to be feared by Assyria was Rusash of Haldia. His attempts to regain the lost Haldian conquests west of the Euphrates have been noted in the last chapter. In this, we shall see the efforts of Sargon to bring the war directly home to him.
When Sargon turned his attention to affairs on this part of his frontier, in 719, he found a good base for attack in the large and important tribe of the Mannai who lived to the southeast of Haldia. As next-door neighbors to that power, they naturally threw in their lot with Assyria. At this time their chief was Iranzu, who seems to have been devoted to his Assyrian ally. To the south of the Mannai lay Zikirtu, whose chief, Mittatti, just as naturally allied himself with Rusash against the Mannai. While Sargon, or at least his armies, were engaged elsewhere, Mittatti persuaded two of the Mannai towns, Shuandahuh and Durdukka, to revolt against Iranzu, and sent a garrison to hold them. Iranzu appealed to Sargon, and Sargon sent an army. So well garrisoned were they that a regular siege with siege engines was needed to capture them. When taken, they were burned and their inhabitants deported. At about the same time, the three neighboring towns of Sukkia, Bala, and Abitekna were captured and the people carried off to Syria.
Again, in 717, there were disturbances in this region, as the Papa and Lallukna were ravaging the friendly land of Kakme. They were conquered and deported to Damascus.
About this time the Mannai themselves went over to Haldia. Iranzu, the friend of Assyria, died, or to use the more picturesque Assyrian expression, "his fate came upon him". His son and successor, Aza, was also a "lover of the yoke of Ashur." The "yoke of Ashur," however, was anything but light, and Rusash, who had already made trouble for Assyria, persuaded the commons to strike for liberty. Perhaps we may see in it a revolt of the Aryans against the older race for the new ruler. Bagdatti of Uishdish bears an Iranian name, and was supported by Mitatti of Zikirtu. Aza was deposed and his dead body exposed on Mount Uaush. His reign, too, was short, for the Assyrians took him alive, flayed him, and exposed his bleeding form on this same Mount Uaush.
He was succeeded by Ullusunu, the brother of Aza, who had thus a legitimate claim to the throne. Whether placed on the throne by the Assyrians or not, he soon saw that Rusash was the nearer and more dangerous foe. He therefore made his peace with Haldia and handed over, probably not without compulsion, twenty-two towns as proof of his good faith. As a result of his defection from Assyria, Ashur liu of Karalla, and Itti of AUabria followed his example.
All these events seem to have taken place in 717, if not earlier. Now, in 716, a new expedition was sent out, seemingly under the Nabuhashadua, whose report on the affairs of Ashur liu and Ullusunu has come down to us. The expedition succeeded. Ullusunu took to the hills on their approach, but when he saw the burning and plundering of his capital, Izirtu, as well as some of his other cities, he came out and sued for peace. This was granted with alacrity, showing either that his defection was considered due to force or that the friendship of the Mannai was too important for Sargon to risk it by severe measures.
The two chieftains who had followed his example did not come off so easily, for an example was needed, and they were not important enough to make severe treatment dangerous. Ashur liu was flayed alive and his men deported to Hamath, where they were joined by Itti and his family. Karalla was made a province, while Allabria was granted to a certain Adar aplu iddin, whose name indicates his Assyrian leanings.
The next year, 715, the results were more or less unimportant. One expedition was directed against a certain Daiukku, a Mannai governor, who had given his son to Rusash as a hostage. Rusash, however, gave no help, and Daiukku was deported to Hamath. The name of the man is more interesting than his personality. Daiukku is nothing but Deiokes, and it is quite possible that the proto-type of the Median prince who founded, according to Herodotus, the Median kingdom at this very time, is to be seen in this underling. We should also note that the name is Iranian. Do we see here, as in the case of Bagdatti, another reaction of the Iranian element in the Mannai against the non-Iranian?
Sargon next turned his attention to the twenty-two towns recently "given" to Rusash and won them back. The fact that they were restored to Ullusunu is another proof that his defection was unwilling. Even when Sargon erected a stele in Izirtu, his capital, he remained true to Assyria.
Another interesting event was the receiving of tribute from the ianzu of Nairi at his capital of Hubushkia. Nairi, which here occurs for the last time, a comparatively restricted district, was once applied to all the tribes of the northern frontier. Tribute was also received from eight towns of the land of Tuaiadi, which was ruled by Telusina the Andian, and over four thousand men were deported from it.
The following year matters became more serious. To follow the Assyrian account we should assume that a direct attack was made on Rusash, that a great defeat was inflicted and that this defeat was so crushing that "when Ursa of Urartu heard of the destruction of Muçaçir, the capture of his god, Haldia, with his own hand, with the iron dagger of his girdle, his life he ended". In several ways, nevertheless, the story does not ring true, and even without documents from the Haldian side, its truth might be doubted. With the account of Rusash himself we can understand the general course of events.
The Mannai lay between Haldia and Muçaçir. Naturally, the two were united against them. As the more powerful, Rusash controlled Muçaçir. As a perpetual reminder of this control, Rusash followed Assyrian precedents and erected a statue of his national god Haldia in Muçaçir, while the native, and probably Iranian, Bagabartu, was degraded to the station of a consort.
Sargon took the field, probably in person, to aid the Mannai against this combination. After a preliminary expedition against Elli and Zikirtu, he found himself within the great mountain barrier which now forms the boundary between Persia and Turkey, and within striking distance of Muçaçir. Rusash hurried south, breaking through the Mannai, to come to the help of his ally. As Sargon advanced, Rusash took up his position on Mount Uaush. A battle was fought and Sargon was victorious, the body guard, two hundred and forty Haldians of the blood royal, being completely destroyed. Then, after a stop at Hubushkia to receive again the tribute of the ianzu of Nairi, he suddenly turned to the west and made a dash upon Muçaçir. The little mountain stronghold, confident in the inaccessibility of the direct road from Arbela, was taken in the rear by this dash through the Kelishin Pass, and captured. Urzana, its king, fled to Rusash and left his city to be plundered. The relief which Sargon erected to commemorate the plunder of the great temple and the carrying of the gods, Haldia and Bagabartu, into captivity, has been preserved and merits study. On it we have the temple with its curiously Greek pediment, its banded columns, its votive shields hung up in front, its great bull-footed lavers in the forecourt, and its statue of a she wolf suckling her young in front. Here, too, we have the Assyrian soldiers climbing to the top or running along its sloping roof, while on a nearby tower an Assyrian officer sits on a camp-stool and the scribes stand before him to reckon up the spoil. And, indeed, they might reckon it in good earnest, for, if we could believe the Assyrian scribes themselves, the spoil from this little mountain village was greater than that taken from Carchemish, the great merchant city of the West!
Thus far we have followed the Assyrian account, and in general it has seemed trustworthy enough. Here it suddenly breaks off, and we have no further military information. Instead, we are told of the suicide of Rusash. It would be difficult to give a rational reason for this suicide, for a single defeat in the enemy's country and the capture of a god in a city a hundred miles away from his own capital is hardly enough. Fortunately, we have his own account to guide us from this point.
The greater part of the year had evidently been taken up with these operations. Winter was now coming on. With the scarcity of forage on these mountain heights, to winter in Muçaçir was impossible. Yet the direct road home through Arbela was impractical for an army, even if there was no enemy to harass his retreat. The only thing to do was to turn back and follow his old track. Rusash returned, re-established Urzana, and rebuilt the temple. The next year Rusash took the offensive and "went to battle to the Assyrian mountains''. probably by the Arbela road. As no victories are claimed it may be presumed that none were gained. Rusash then erected a stele near Muçaçir detailing his version of the events. Later, perhaps in the year following, a fresh expedition by the Assyrians again succeeded in reaching the place and partially mutilated this record of their disgrace.
This is the last we hear of Rusash. His work was done, and Assyria had learned that Haldia was not to be conquered. He died about 711, and was succeeded by his son, Argishtish. Under this new ruler new conditions arose which must be discussed in a later chapter.
THE MEDIAN WARS
Judged rather by their results than by the details of their progress, the wars with the Median tribes, begun under Shalmaneser II in 836 and carried on by the later Assyrian kings with ever-decreasing hopes of success, deserve a large part in general history. Drifting westward as petty unconnected tribes, at war often with each other, they gradually drove in or conquered the more or less Assyrianized tribes along the eastern frontier, and then began to assail the empire itself. For a time the better trained Assyrian soldiers succeeded in beating them off, but the task was never-ending and the drain severe. The destruction of one clan meant only room for another to expand in, while all the time they were learning from the enemy. At last Assyria, now defended almost exclusively by mercenaries, themselves of Iranian extraction in many cases, fell, and then the collapse of Babylon was merely a question of time. Yet so thoroughly had they been transformed by the contact with their more civilized neighbors that, when at last they had conquered what was then the civilized world, they were found to stand for almost the same ideas in government and social life as did those who had preceded them in the way of empire. Here we have an interesting parallel in the evolution which led our Germanic ancestors from the idea of the rude chief with his band of personal attendants to the conception of the Holy Roman Empire. Interesting, however, as a study of these general movements may be, the details of this constant border warfare are dry to study and difficult to handle.
Thanks to the exertions of Tiglath Pileser III and to the provincial organization he brought to so high a pitch of efficiency, Sargon was well situated as regards these tribes. On the northeast and between Arbela and Muçaçir was the province of Kirruri which had been Assyrian territory since the ninth century. At this time the governor was Shamash upahhir. To the south of this was Parsuash, and again, to the south of this last, between the Lower Zab and the Diyala, on the first outliers of the eastern mountains, lay that of Arapha, now governed by Ishtar Duri. To the east of this was Lullume, an ill-defined province in the Shehrizor highland, whose governor, Sharru emur ani, whose residence probably was at the modern Suleimania, bore the brunt of the conflict.
We may now take up the operations in detail. First we have the operations of the governor of Parsuash (717). A number of towns of the land Niksama were plundered, and Sipu sharru, the ruler of Shurgardia, probably a revolted subject, was captured. Lying as they did on the Parsuash frontier, they were naturally added to that province.
The governor next advanced to Kishesim, the most important town in the Parsuash region, and captured and carried off the komarch Bel shar ugur, whose name reminds us of the Biblical Belshazzar. The site of Kishesim seemed well adapted to be the seat of a province. The name was accordingly changed to Kar Adar, the Ashur cult introduced, and the usual stele erected. The new province whose capital Kar Adar became, embraced the greater part of the Parsuash region.
Troubles in Harhar next engaged the attention of the governor. Here the pro-Assyrian feelings of the komarch Kibaba had caused his expulsion, and Harhar was brought into close relation to Dalta of Elli. As that individual had not yet won the fame of a "loyal vassal who loved my yoke", praise so gladly given when Dalta was dead and the strife of his sons gave so good an opportunity for intervention, this was considered good ground for similar action here. To be sure, poor Kibaba was not reinstated. In fact, if we may accept one account, he was actually made captive himself. The city of Harhar, defended, as one of the reliefs shows, by an isolated rock citadel within the city, which itself was surrounded by a good-sized stream, was taken and plundered, its men impaled, and the usual procedure of setting up the stele, the introducing of the Ashur cult, and the settling of foreigners, gone through, while the name of the the place was changed to Kar Sharrukin, or Sargon's fortress. To the province thus formed were added the six small "states" now plundered and taken. At about the same time the governor in his new capital received the tribute from twenty-eight komarchs of the "mighty Medes"
In the next year, 716, the efforts to extend the province were continued. Some of the towns conquered the last year were again forced to pay tribute, while more new ones were visited. The details of some of these campaigns are shown in the bas-rehefs which once adorned the palace of Sargon. On one we see Kindau, a town with high walls around a great central tower. It is situated in a swamp across which a causeway leads to the town. On another we see Gauguhtu, a city on a hill with double walls against which mining operations are being carried on. A third shows us Kisheshlu with its double wall around a rocky hill surrounded by water, with three battering rams working against them. These cities, once taken, were given Assyrian names and formed into Assyrian municipalities. Kar Sharrukin was again strengthened against the Medes, who still remained dangerous, even if twenty-two chiefs did send presents.
Indeed, the operations continued the next year, 715. The Mannai and Elli were once more forced to pay tribute, as well as certain princelets who had never done the like to the kings, his fathers. The main event of the year, however, was the defeat of Mitatti of Zikirtu, who had twice conspired to raise a revolt among the Mannai. At last, an attempt was made thoroughly to root out the Zikirtai. Their three strong places, their twenty-four towns, even their capital, Parda, was taken, plundered, and burned. Mitatti was forced to flee, and "his place of abode was not found". A few years later Zikirtai was once more in revolt.
Thus far we seem to be dealing only with the unknown governor of Parsuash. In 714 we learn of the operations of Sharru emur ani, the governor of LuUume. As a result of the troubles of 717, Karalla had been made part of the province. Under Amitashshi, the brother of the unfortunate Ashur liu, the natives rose and drove out their Assyrian oppressors. Sharru emur ani returned with an army, and a battle was fought on the mountain called Ana. The people of Karalla were defeated and Amitashshi, bound hand and foot, was carried off to Assyria, while two thousand of his troops were forced to take service in the royal army. Bit Daiukku and the surrounding lands were raided and plundered, and the whole of the newly-conquered region added to the Lullume province.
At about the same time operations were carried on along the Elli frontier, perhaps by Sharru emur ani, more probably by Ishtur Duri, the governor of Arapha.Dalta had now changed his policy; for the revolt of five of his border districts, seemingly to the Elamitish ruler, had forced him to invite the Assyrians to assist him. The Assyrians accepted gladly and secured the districts in question, but there is no proof that they were ever returned to Dalta. Elli was now brought fairly within the Assyrian sphere of influence, and only the death of Dalta was needed to produce actual intervention.
In this connection we are told of tribute received by the governor of Parsuash. This was probably not all taken in one year. It must rather represent the relations of that official with the tribes to the east during the interval for which we have no other history. Certain it is that we cannot see here actual expeditions in the field. Among the tribes which sent presents were those of the Bikni or Demavend region, clearly near the Caspian and as clearly in a region where no Assyrian army ever penetrated. These were next neighbors to the somewhat mysterious Arabs of the east and of the land of Nagira of the ''mighty" Mandai who had thrown off the yoke of Ashur and were encamped on mountain and steppe. The tribute received from Ullusunu of Mannai and of Adar aplu iddin was more in the nature of the real thing. But, again, in the tribute of several thousand horses and mules, sheep and cattle sent in by forty-five chiefs of the "mighty" Medes, we have only the usual presents.
Only once more does there seem to have been trouble along this frontier, and then it was not serious. By 708 Dalta of Elli had ''gone the way of death," and his two sons, Nibe and Ishpabara, contested his throne. Nibe called in Shutruk nahunta, none the worse it would seem for his Assyrian wars, while his brother summoned Sargon. Shutruk nahunta sent four thousand five hundred bowmen to garrison Elli, but the seven generals of Sargon won the day. The capital, Marubishtu, situated on a high mountain, was captured and rebuilt, Nibe made prisoner, and Ishpabara placed on the throne.
The revolt of Ishpabara only six years later is only one indication among many of the untenable position the Assyrians held in Media. The attempt to hold back the advancing Median hordes was an impossible one, but Sargon did what he could and at least somewhat postponed the evil day.
THE ELAMITISH WARS AND THE CONQUEST OF BABYLON
The campaigns of Sargon, after the first Babylonian troubles, fall into a definite series of movements. First came the settlement of Syrian affairs, then the advances on the northwest frontier and the struggles with Rusash and Midas. After this there had been no great movements, but constant wars along the Median and Asia Minor frontiers had exercised the troops as well as extended the boundaries. At the same time an opportunity was given for recuperation and for preparation for new wars.
The Median wars had already shown the influence of Shutur nahundi, who had ruled in Elam since 717. In Babylon, too, it was Elamitish support which helped to keep Merodach Baladan on the throne, and a movement to recover the old sacred city could not be better begun than by an attempt to disable the usurper's ally. Shutur nahundi held the same place in the affairs of the southeast as did Rusash in the north, Midas on the northwest, and Egypt on the southwest. Around each all the disaffection of that section centered and a conquest of each was essential to a lasting peace on that frontier.
It was therefore as a preliminary to the conquest of Babylon that Elam was invaded. Confused though the accounts are, we can yet, by the aid of the topography, give a fairly correct account of the operations. One division moved down southeast behind the Hamrin Hills, the first important elevation beyond the Babylonian plain, and attacked Dur Athara, a Gambulu fort only sixty miles from Susa itself and on the direct road between that city and Babylon. This important post had already been fortified by Merodach Baladan and was now still more strengthened. Its walls were raised, a canal from the Surappu river drawn about it, and a force of four hundred infantry and six hundred cavalry thrown in. In spite of all this preparation, the fort was quickly taken, before nightfall, the scribes of Sargon boast, and the usual prisoners and booty of live stock carried off. If the plan of Sargon had been to advance from here direct upon Susa, he was doomed to disappointment, for the road, though short, was too rough for an army easily to traverse it even in time of peace, while in the face of an enemy it was utterly impossible.
Something, however, had been accomplished. The direct road between Susa and Babylon was held by Dur Athara which was made the capital of a new province, while Dur ilu held the Susians back from a return attack on Assyria. With the new capital as a base, further advances were made. One detachment, perhaps trying to go around the south end of the Hamrin chain and so attack Susa on the flank, invaded the Uknu region, where, among their reed beds and swamps, the natives felt secure. Nevertheless, their towns were taken and eight chiefs came forth from their retreat and paid tribute in livestock. All the region thus far taken was made a new province, that of Gambulu, with Dur Athara, now called Dur Nabu, as its capital. The nomads were ordered to settle, and a cash tribute added to a tax of one out of twenty from their flocks. This province seems to have been well Assyrianized, and Dur Nabu, unlike most of these re-christenings, long retained that name. Years later, when Gambulian exiles are found settled near Harran, we find a Dur Nabu as one of their foundations.
Next came the attempt to extend the province to the south as well as to the southeast, a movement of importance, as it brought the army close to the ancestral home of Merodach Baladan. Here was captured Qarad Nanni, a town of Nabu ugalla, six regions of the Gambulu, and four of their strongholds. Then, moving northeast, he attacked some of the greater tribes of the country, the Ru'a, the Puqudu, the Iatburu, and the Hindaru. From the two somewhat different accounts which the scribe has neglected to amalgamated we learn that they fled by night and occupied the morasses of the Uknu. The Assyrian army first devastated their land and cut down their main means of support, the date palms. Then they advanced into the swamp where they found the Dupliash dammed and fortified by two strongholds. An indecisive battle was fought, but surrender was finally forced by starvation. Fourteen towns on the banks of the Uknu, the names differ in the two versions, presented their tribute of livestock to the governor in Dur Athara. Hostages were taken, taxes assessed, and they, too, became part of the new province.
Parallel with all these operations of one corps were those of another, which had its base at Dur ilu, and which directed its attention to the country to the north of Elam proper, where Elamitish influence was still strong. Here again we have two conflicting versions. Two important places, Sam'una and Bab duri, were taken, though whether they were outposts which Shutur nahundi had fortified against Iatburu, as one of the versions would have us believe, or whether these were towns of Iatburu and it was the towns of Ahilimmu and Pillutu that were Elamitish, as the other asserts, we cannot pretend to know. The commanders of these cities, Sadunu and Sinlishshibu, were forced to surrender, together with nearly twenty thousand soldiers, over a third of whom were Elamitish. In addition, there was taken much booty of wagons, horses, mules, asses, and camels. Samuna was rebuilt and named Bel ikisha. While still in camp here, tribute was received from a number of Iatburu chiefs whose tribes were settled on the banks of the Naditu. The operations came to an end with the conquest of certain important towns in Rashi, Til Humba, Dunni Shamash, Bube, and Hamanu. The inhabitants retired to Bit Imbi, which does not seem to have been taken, while Shutur nahundi, the instigator of all this resistance, retired to the mountains. That he should have been engaged here while the Assyrians further south were striving to find a road to his capital shows how safe he felt that to be behind its mountain walls. How thorough all this conquest was is shown by the fact that Sargon's own son, Sennacherib, informs us that some of it was already lost in the days of his father.
While these two divisions had been conquering the country east of the Tigris and thus driving a wedge between Elam and Babylonia, Sargon, with the main army, was moving directly upon Babylon. Here, for twelve years, Merodach Baladan had held his own. Even if not a native patriot, as the earlier scholars assumed, he was still looked upon as a foreign deliverer by a large anti-Assyrian party, whose property had been confiscated and who had been imprisoned during the last period of foreign rule. The majority of our documents come from the priestly class, who would naturally favor so pious a king as Sargon, but their version should not make us forget that there must have been a large military class and a still larger commercial one which was the natural enemy of Assyria.
In his inscriptions Sargon tells us that the Chaldaean usurper imprisoned the leading men of the land, although they had committed no crime, and confiscated their property. No doubt this is all true enough. But when Merodach Baladan did all this he was, only inflicting on the pro-Assyrian party severities which they themselves had employed on their rivals of the other party. In the royal charter granting lands to Bel ahe erba, we are told of lands torn from their rightful owners, of forgotten boundaries and destroyed boundary stones, and all this took place in the days when the Assyrian enemy devastated the land and "there was no king" in Babylon. Peaceable people must indeed have suffered when the land was torn between the two factions, and could have had as little love for one as the other.
While, therefore, the accusations of the two enemies throw light on the conduct of each other, Sargon is deliberately telling an untruth, when he states that Merodach Baladan did not respect the gods, but removed them and allowed their sacrifices to fall into neglect. If the Babylonian priesthood remained hostile to the Chaldaean, it was from no lack of effort on his part to win them over. Like all other foreign conquerors of Babylon, he became a votary of the gods of the land. Thus, in the above-mentioned inscription, we have the same glorification of Marduk, Nabu and Ea, the same recognition of dependence on them, as we meet in those of the native rulers. Nor was this homage confined to words alone. He adorned and rebuilt the ancient temples, one of which was that of Nana at Uruk, and provided for their maintenance and their revenues. Special attention, too, was given to the ancient and revered cities of Sippar, Nippur, and Babylon. It is therefore probable that the mass of the people were well enough content with his rule. Otherwise, it is difficult to understand why he so easily won back Babylon so soon after Sargon died.
The settlement of Merodach Baladan at the gates of Assyria was a grave danger, for it was a constant incitement to the other subject states to follow the example of a successful revolt. In addition, there were sentimental reasons which would induce any Assyrian ruler, much more one so religious and so interested in antiquity as Sargon, to attempt the conquest. This constant desire to conquer the seemingly eternal city of Babylon, "seize the hands of Bel", and thus become the vice gerent of Marduk on earth, has been well compared with the equally constant desire of the Germanic kings to be crowned emperor at Rome. In many ways the attitude of respectful mastership assumed by Rome in her dealings with Greece would be a comparison more to the point. But neither is close enough. We have here no foreign countries separated as much by barriers of speech and custom as by sea or mountain. In its origin Assyria seems to have been a Babylonian colony. In language there was less difference than between Athens and Sparta. The only natural boundary was the line of the alluvium, and that was no barrier. On the other hand, the two great navigable rivers, the numberless canals, the roads with easy grades, all brought the two countries into close relations with each other. The result was what might have been expected. To the end Assyria was like Rome, the faithful copyist of Babylonia in most that did not relate to war or government. In art, in literature, in law, even in the trivial details of every-day life, Assyria leaned upon Babylon. Above all, this was true of religion, although Assyria did indeed have a national Ashur cult. But even this could not prevent the older gods of the south from usurping to a considerable degree his place. The earlier Assyrian kings could ascribe victory to Ashur. The later ones did not feel their world empire sure until Bel Marduk of Babylon had allowed them to seize his hands in the "city of the lord of gods."
Sargon seems to have collected his troops at Ashur, which he perhaps inhabited at this time. He then would have moved down the west bank of the Tigris and crossed the Euphrates, probably at Falujah, where the last hills retreat from the river. From here he entered the country of Bit Dakkuri, not perhaps without a battle, where he found the ruined fort of Dur Ladina, about where we now have the sacred city of Kerbela. As this was a good outpost against Babylon, it was rebuilt and garrisoned. The position of Merodach Baladan had now become untenable. On the west, Dur Ladina, on the north Kutha were in the hands of the Assyrians, and each was but a few miles from Babylon. On the east the whole of the Elamitish foothills had fallen into their hands, and a part of their troops was already working their way through the swamps toward Dur lakin and threatening his rear.
He was accordingly forced to retreat. At first he withdrew to Iatbur along the Tigris. From here he sent a "tribute," as the Assyrian writer sarcastically calls his presents to Shutur nahundi, begging for Elamitish aid. The Assyrian insinuates that Shutur nahundi did not come, because he did not wish to, and portrays with deep feeling the scene which took place when Merodach Baladan learned the news, how he threw himself on the ground, tore his clothes, and filled the air with his loud lamentations. As we have already seen, the Elamite king was busy in the north at this time and perhaps did not know of the plight of his ally. Besides, he had all the fighting he needed in this part of the field.
As Merodach Baladan was unable by himself to break through to Elam and as Shutur nahundi could not or would not come to his aid, he was forced to fall back along the Tigris to Iqbi Bel, perhaps the present Amara.
With the retreat of Merodach Baladan, Babylon opened its gates. In long procession, the citizens of Babylon and Borsippa, magistrates, trade guilds, artisans, carried to Sargon, as he lay encamped at Dur hadina, the greeting of the great gods, Bel Marduk and Zarpanit, Nabu and Tashmit. The envoys were received graciously by the pious monarch, who showed by his sacrifices his respect for the old order of things. It was now late in the year, and New Year's Day was approaching. Sargon resolved to "seize the hands of Bel" himself and thus assume personal rule over Babylon. For the approaching ceremony the old canal of Borsippa was restored in order that it might be used as the festival street along which Nabu might pass to greet Marduk on this auspicious day.
Sargon now went into winter quarters at Babylon where the tribute of some of the Arimi, or Aramaeans, of the Bit Amukani, and of Bit Dakkuri, was received. At the same time the conquest of North Babylonia was completed by the subjugation of the Hamarana, one of the "helper" tribes of Merodach Baladan. They had retreated across the Euphrates before the Assyrian advance and established themselves in Sippar. The Babylonians attempted to drive them out, but failed. An Assyrian force was detached from the main body and sent under a governor against them. A wall of circumvallation was thrown around Sippar and the Hamarana were forced to surrender.
The great prize was now Sargon's. On New Year's Day he "seized the hands of Bel" and became king of Babylon with all due pomp and ceremony. A month was still needed for the settlement of Babylon, and then, in the month of May, he set out for his final attack on Merodach Baladan. On his advance, the Chaldaean fell back to Dur Iakin in the marshes of the Mar Marrati, the swamps at the head of the Persian Gulf. Here he prepared to make his last stand. The nomad troops were collected, the city fortified, and a canal from the Euphrates brought around the place, the bridges destroyed, and the whole country made a morass by the breaking down of the dams. Outside the walls, earthworks were thrown up and troops posted in them.
"Like eagles" Sargon's troops crossed the streams and advanced to the attack. The nomads were forced back and a hand-to-hand conflict took place before the walls. Merodach Baladan was wounded in the arm and obliged to take refuge within the city. His troops, nevertheless, Puqudu, Marsamai, Sute, resisted to the last and were slaughtered before the gate. Rich booty was taken, including the king's furniture and plate, in addition to captives and the various domestic animals. For three days the city was given over to plunder. Then it was burned, its towers thrown down, its very foundations torn up, and the place given over to utter ruin.
Yet the real object of the expedition was not accomplished. Merodach Baladan escaped, as one of the versions is forced to admit. Other versions, indeed, give the history as it should have been, with Merodach Baladan as a captive or as a pardoned rebel with his tribute paid and his fortresses dismantled, but the course of later events proves that he did indeed escape. He remained safe in the marshes of the extreme south until Sargon died, when once more, for a short time, he held the throne of Babylonia.
The remainder of the year was taken up with the settlement of affairs in South Babylonia. The political prisoners from Babylon, Sippar, Nippur, and Borsippa, were freed from their confinement at Dur Iakin and restored to their homes and lands. Religion once more became supreme. The gods were restored to the cities and new buildings erected. The whole of the region along the Elamitish border, Dur Iakin included, was settled by captives from Qummuh, hardly a wise proceeding for the change from the cold bracing highlands along the upper Euphrates to the hot, fever-laden swamps of this region must have soon proved fatal to the majority of them. A strong fort was built against Elam at Sagbat by Nabu damiq ilani, who seems to be the governor of Gambulu mentioned immediately after. The control of this frontier was confided to him and to the governor of Babylon.
At almost the same time Sargon's vanity was flattered by "tribute" from two distant islands at the two extreme corners of the known world. We have already seen the reason for his relations with Cyprus. What led Uperi, king of Tilmun, a half mythical island lying a sixty hours' journey down the gulf, "like a fish in the sea", to open relations with Sargon is not so clear. Probably it was for commercial reasons. If Tilmun was indeed the present Bahrein, we may perhaps see in it a wish to secure a market for the pearls which have made the island so famous in modern times.
Sargon remained for some time in Babylonia, receiving the submission of the natives and attempting to put affairs in order. In 707 all seemed to be quiet, or at least matters were becoming more serious to the north. The king returned to Assyria, after having brought back the gods of the sea lands to their ancestral seats, taking with him a body of captives to be settled there. But these northern troubles seem once more to have aroused the south, and the settlers placed in Dur Iakin were driven out in 706. In 705 we have the news of a capture of Dur Iakin. By this time it would seem as if South Babylonia was all in revolt. For a time Sennacherib was able to hold Babylon and the North, but even this finally went over to Merodach Baladan, who once more for a short while held rule over all Babylonia.
THE LAST YEARS
With the accession of Argishtish II to the throne of Haldia, about the year 711, the situation became once more as serious as it had been under Rusash. As usual, the new king was more anxious for war than his father, and hostilities, which seem to have been intermitted for two or three years, broke out anew. The first year or two of his reign seems to have been spent in building for himself a new city, Argishtihina, whose ruins are probably to be found at Arjish, and in constructing a reservoir for it.
In 710 the opportunity seemed to have come. Sargon was in Babylonia with his best troops and engaged with powerful enemies who, if allied with Argishtish, as seems to have been the case, would no doubt call upon him to make a diversion. For the events of these last few years we depend, not on the edited documents intended to glorify the king, but on the very letters which passed between the generals in the field and the king himself or his son, Sennacherib, who was left in charge of the north with head-quarters at Kalhu, while his father was at Babylon. Thus, in spite of the difficulty of interpretation and of arrangement, we are enabled to gain a far more correct and more vivid idea of the campaigns than we can for any other part of the reign. Our first letters would seem to come from the winter of 710-9, when Sargon was already in control of Babylon. At this time Argishtish seems to have been collecting his troops at his new city of Argishtihina, which lay on the north side and might therefore be supposed to be out of sight from the Assyrians. But Sargon had a good intelligence department, and rumors began to reach him. Ashur rigua, for example, who so often appears in these events, was ordered to send one of his spies to Turushpa, the older capital of Haldia, on the site of the present Van, whence a raid might be expected. As a result, perhaps, of this investigation, Ashur ri#ua next learned that Argishtish had now entered Turushpa and had there captured the second tartan, Urgine, with his Assyrian army. The tartan, it would seem, had advanced incautiously, thinking that the Haldian was still at Argistihina. Now his brother, Apli uknu, had gone off to see him, presumably under a truce, and was about to investigate the cause of the capture. The near approach of the Haldian army had quite naturally led to disaffection among Sargon's soldiers, many of them captives who had seen their homes destroyed and relatives killed by the men who now forced them to fight their cause. Narage, a rab kiçir, plotted revolt, and was followed by twenty of his men. Ashur riçua, however, detected it in time and the plotters were sent back from the front. Another example of the disaffection felt may be seen in a letter from Sha Ashur dubbu, governor of Tushhan. Two officers and six men were sent with warrants, seal in hand, the Assyrian says, for deserters in Penza on the Haldian frontier. While on their way they fell into an ambush set by a Shuprian whose brother had just been treacherously eating with them to throw them off their guard. Fortunately they escaped. The governor has ordered a guard, for he has cavalry as well as infantry, to be stationed here and will carry on a full investigation. Another letter of his gives further news of the Penza affair, it would seem, as well as of conditions on the frontier. A messenger of Bagteshub has brought news from the front, but Bagteshub himself has not obeyed orders, and a copy of the reprimand sent him is given.
Frontier conditions were certainly growing alarming. Akkul anu was cut off and besought the king for a reply. Another letter from Upahhir Bel, governor of Ameda, reports that he is still in Harda and has sent a scout to the frontier. The governor of an unknown city, perhaps Akku-lanu, has sent asking aid. Upahhir Bel replies by urging him to remain shut up close in his forts and he will deliver him. But this must have been a boast which Upahhir Bel was unable to fulfill, for when we next hear of him he has been forced to fall back, and Haldian officials are at Harda, his old quarters. From here to Turushpa, where the king still was, they keep guard. There is no immediate danger of attack, for a captured letter from Argishtish to the governor of Harda forbids for the present further advance. The Ituai, who seem to have been a sort of military caste, have been called in. The palace Ituai who has come from the Euphrates has gone off with one or two "houses" of the governor's sukalli. The Ituai who inspected beams at Eziat has been sent of with the rob ali, or mayor, to the front. An engagement has taken place and the Assyrians have been worsted. The enemy lost only three wounded, while the Assyrians suffered a loss of two killed and ten wounded, including the lieutenant of the rab ali. Upahhir Bel is now at Shuruba and must have an army there by harvest time to support him.
But still worse news was to come to Sennacherib, for while Argishtish was still at Turushpa sacrificing, and with all his governors around him, ready for an advance, the Mannai, whose traditional policy was to side with Assyria, broke away and made a raid on Assyrian territory. Analu-qunu, the governor of Muçaçir, and Tunnaun, governor of Karsitu, hastened to the boundary, but the Mannai had already retreated. Such was the news of Ashur riçua. Gabbu ana Ashur, who had arrived at his province of Kurban, in Tammuz (July), sends in a report a month later, in Ab. On his arrival he sent messengers to Nabu liu, Ashur bel danan, and Ashur riçua, who were at the forts immediately before the enemy. Now the messengers have returned and report that Argishtish is still in Turushpa. From another letter we learn that there were ten Assyrian generals operating in this region. About the same time must have taken place the revolt of the Zikirtai.
The events of this year had been most favorable for Haldia. On the northwest Mutallu of Qummuh had been drawn away. Then along the whole southern boundary of Haldia an advance had been made and disaffection was spreading in the enemy's ranks. The situation seemed black enough for Assyria, with even the Zikirtai and their faithful Mannai gone.
The operations of the next year, 708, were no more calculated to restore confidence to Sargon. At the beginning of Nisan (April), Argishtish at last advanced, first to Qaniun and then to Eliggadu where he was met by the levy from all Armenia. Meanwhile, Qaqqadanu, his tartan, had been sent on to Uesi with four other officers. After a long delay, during which he received the tribute of the Zikirtai, the king left Eliggadu and himself went to Uesi. His forces at this time were said to be few. By this time it was already Elul (September). Here he seems to have remained until the beginning of the next year. But while still in Uesi, apparently before the winter closed in, he sent against Muçaçir a body of three thousand men with baggage camels under Setinu, one of his governors. But Suna, the Assyrian general in charge of the Ukkai country, who had already put down a revolt at home, learned of this and hurried to Muçaçir to head him off. This he succeeded in doing, although not before the enemy had crossed the Çalmat river. This was the first victory, it would appear, of all the operations. An attempt was made to push the advantage home. The commanders of Uesi and Ukkai, the latter Suna, of course, came to Muçaçir, sacrificed in the famous temple, and then advanced, the result being that Argishtish fell back to Uesi. This information was sent the king by no less a person that Urzana, king of Muçaçir, the former friend of Rusash. He now protests his loyalty and his wish to do whatever the king orders him. This success of the Assyrians must have been followed by a reverse, for soon after we find Urzana negotiating a treaty with Haldia and his example followed by Hubushkia. Hardly, however, had the spring campaign of 707 begun when Argishtish was suddenly drawn to the north by a terrible danger which now began to threaten the civilized countries of Western Asia. Another branch of that Iranian race which was already pressing so hard on the eastern frontier of Assyria had poured across the Caucasus, carrying everything before it. Coming out of their "Cimmerian darkness", these Gimirrai, so soon as the late spring of the highlands allowed, began their operations. They struck the Haldian frontier obliquely and finally took up their position in Cappadocia, where many traces of their stay lasted on in the later nomenclature of the region. Here they were able to attack, as they might desire, Phrygia or the rising power of Lydia on the one hand, or Assyria or Haldia on the other. The land of Haldia first felt the presence of these barbarians and Argishtish decided to attack them before they actually crossed his borders. At first he seems to have had some success. Guriania, a region between Haldia and Gamirra, was forced to pay tribute. As the Haldian advance must have been up the Tokhma Su past Melitene and Tulgarimmu, this whole country must have already been lost to Assyria. It is therefore with no surprise that we see Sennacherib engaged once more in reconquering this region.
The advantage did not long remain to Argishtish. Soon after he entered the land of Gamir, the battle with the Cimmerians took place. The result was a complete defeat. The king himself escaped and retreated to Uazaun, but his tartan, Qaqqadanu, was taken and most of his nobles slain. The defeat was a terrible one. The wars with Assyria had already weakened Haldia, and now this came. The country was permanently crippled and never again became a serious menace to Assyria.
The news spread far and wide, and soon reports from the various frontier officers began to come in to Sennacherib, who forwarded them to Sargon, who was still delaying in Babylon. The news seems to have aroused him, for by the end of the year 707 he was once more back in Assyria. The next year he himself took the field in Tabal, though now an old man. For a time there seems to have been no decisive battle, the Cimmerians probably being weakened by their late contest, while Sargon would follow a more cautious policy. But in the year 705 he was forced to give battle to the Cimmerians, who seem now to have been led by Eshpai the Kulummite. The king fell in the ensuing conflict and his camp was taken. Later his body was recovered and, after much opposition for some unknown cause by the priests, his son buried it with all the necessary pomp. On the twelfth of Ab (August) Sennacherib formally ascended the throne and a new reign began.